Local, Technology

New phone apps let drivers find and pay for parking in Miami Beach

Miami Beach residents and visitors have a new way to find and pay for parking. Rather than having to insert credit cards or carrying a pocket full of change, they can now pay through an app on their phones.

The city of Miami Beach introduced two new mobile apps this month, Parkmobile and ParkMe-Miami Beach. These apps help locate parking facilities as well as provide turn-by-turn direction to vacant parking spots in the area.

“If you want to go to any restaurant on Ocean Drive, just put in the name and it will provide you the location of the closest parking facility in that area,” said Saul Frances, parking director for the city of Miami Beach.

As an incentive for using this program, Miami Beach drivers who register and provide proof of residency at the parking department’s customer service center, will pay $1 instead of the regular $1.75-per-hour rate on South Beach. The city also will waive a 35-cent transaction fee. This transaction fee is how ParkMobile generates revenue.

“It’s a matter of choice. If the consumer wants to pay at a parking meter and not use ParkMobile, they could also do that,” said Frances. ” It’s really about providing options.”

The apps also can warn users when it’s time to feed the meter.

“Users will get a text message that will tell them that their session will expire in fifteen minutes and if they wish to extend, they can,” said Frances, “It’s certainly a lot more convenient than having to go back to the pay stations to add more time.”

The city has wanted to implement something to help alleviate the parking problems and make life easier for their visitors and residents. They implemented a system called iPark last year, which was a small operation that went out of business.

Parkmobile and ParkMe, in contrast, are some of the largest providers of real-time mobile parking in the world. Parkmobile has launched in 12 cities in Florida and have over 2 million customers worldwide.

“In the state of Florida alone we have over 200,000 already signed up to our service,” said Brent Paxton, an executive vice president for ParkMobile. “We know this is going to be a tremendous success here in Miami Beach.”

Both apps are free and available on iPhone, Android, Windows and Blackberry devices.

Read in Miami Herald.

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